With over 1,000 varieties, plant lovers all around the world are going crazy for Caladium plants! Their beautiful coloured heart-shaped leaves will leave you wanting more and more which is why it’s great that Caladium plants are so easy to propagate!
In this post we will guide you through the complete Caladium propagation process; the various ways you can propagate your Caladium, the various dos and don’ts, what tools you’ll need to propagate and things to look out for to ensure you’re successful!
Why would you want to propagate a Caladium plant in the first place?
There are several reasons why plant parents might choose to propagate their Caladium plants, sometimes it’s more out of necessity rather than choice. Houseplants don’t always grow how we want them to and this is often the case for Caladium plants which grow sideways, leggy or just too big for your space. Pruning these plants is a great way to keep them in shape, encourage new growth and generally just keep your plant looking healthy. But instead of just taking random cuttings and discarding them, you can prune your plant in a way that will give you sections to propagate.
If you notice that your Caladium is looking a little unhealthy and might be dying then sometimes your only option is to propagate a healthy section of the plant and give up on the rest. We will forever recommend that you first try to diagnose the issue and try to fix it before propagating but sometimes if there is no positive change, it might be your best and only option.
But it doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom, you may also choose to propagate your Caladium plant to simply make new ones. Propagating is a great way to multiply the amount of greenery in your home without having to spend a cent. Caladium cuttings also make great gifts for friends and family, especially as they may struggle to get a hold of your specific variety!
What tools/ equipment will I need to propagate my Caladium plant?
Before you start the propagation process, It’s important that you have all the right things!
Healthy and mature Caladium plant
Fresh soil and water
Newspaper or plastic sheet if propagating indoors
What methods can I use to propagate my Caladium Plant?
Unfortunately, there is only really one proper method of Caladium propagation; division of the mother plant. This is because the plants reproduce through their tubers in the soil which is why leaf and stem cuttings won’t ever grow new roots.
But luckily propagating through division of your mother Caladium is not only super easy but it’s very successful too. The new plants will already have a healthy root system and you won’t be waiting months and months for new growth to appear.
The one downside to propagating Caladium plants through division means that you’ll need quite a mature plant with several offshoots that you don’t mind separating. Caladium plants are pretty fast growers, so if your plant isn’t quite mature yet, just wait a few months and come back to it.
Below you will find a step by step guide to the division method of Caladium propagation!
How to Propagate your Caladium plant through division of the mother plant
Locate the various stems of your Caladium mother plant
When choosing how to divide your Caladium it will become obvious if there are various offshoots/stems. They will be completely separate and leaves will grow out from each of the stems. If you’re still unsure, follow each of the stems down to the soil so you can see the separate offshoots growing out of the pot.
Take your Caladium out of the pot
This method of propagation requires you to get your hands a little dirty as you need to remove your Caladium from the pot to separate the sections.
Carefully lift your Caladium out and start to shake off the soil around the roots. An easy way to loosen the potting mix is to gently run your fingers through the roots to start to separate them. This also helps stop too much damage to the root system but don’t worry if you clip the odd root.
Separate the sections
You may have to cut through some of the roots f they aren’t detangling easily but you should be able to carefully pull the sections apart from each other. The most important thing to make sure of is that each section of the plant has a good amount of the root system as this will help them recover quickly from the shock of propagation and repotting and grow new leaves.
It is completely up to you how many new plants you create, and how many offshoots are in each one. It depends on the maturity of your plant as well as your personal preference.
Place in water or fresh potting mix
Pot the main mother Caladium plant back into its pot (or downsize if you’ve taken a lot away) and decide whether you want to place your new Caladium plant(s) in water or potting mix.
If the roots on your new plant are still quite small and delicate then you may want to pop it in water for a few weeks to help them mature. However, if the roots system is mature and strong then you can pot your new Caladium plant straight into fresh potting mix.
Use a high-quality potting mix so that your new plants get the right nutrient balance. At first, it will be quite a shock for your Caladium plants to be separated and moved into a new pot so good soil will help them develop.
Continue normal Caladium care
Now that your new Caladium plant is happily in its new home with plenty of fresh potting mix, your propagation is complete! You can now care for your new Caladium plant as you would your mother plant, making sure it gets the right amount of light, warmth, water and humidity to thrive! Soon enough it’ll be big and bushy enough for you to propagate all over again.
Caladium Plant Propagation FAQs
Here’s a few of the most common questions we find people have when looking to propagate their Philodendron Birkin.
What time of year is best for propagating my Caladium?
Ideally, you want to propagate all of your houseplants at the beginning of spring for the best chance of success, including your Caladium. This gives several months of sunny, warm weather for your new plants to mature. However, as you can only propagate Caladium plants through division you can get away with propagating at less ideal times of the year if you really want to. This is because your new plants already have a strong root system and don’t need to grow one from scratch.
Is it a good idea to use rooting hormone when propagating a Caladium plant?
Whilst you can have a lot of success without it, you may want to use rooting gel or powder if the roots on your Caladium aren’t super developed. Rooting hormone stimulates root growth and produces stronger roots which is really important for Caladium plants as they grow vertically.
Is it possible to propagate a Caladium plant from a single leaf cutting?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to propagate a Caladium from a single leaf cutting. Roots grow from tubers in the soil and a single leaf will very quickly wilt and die if you try to grow it on its own.
Should I fertilise my Caladium cutting?
As you are propagating your Caladium through the division method, you can start to fertilise again around 1-2 months after propagation. When propagating other houseplants through stem or leaf cuttings, you’d need to wait a full year but as your new Caladium plants will already have their roots you can resume fertilisation fairly quickly.
All you need to do is let your new Caladium plant recover from the shock of propagation and then it’ll be ready for fertiliser if you want to.
Common problems when propagating a Caladium Plant
Although the process used to propagate Caladium plants is fairly simple, it will be slightly different each time around and occasionally you might run into some unexpected problems along the way. We recommend keeping a close eye on your new plants to help you spot any early warning signs.
Below we have all of the answers to how to fix any common problems you might run into when propagating your Caladium.
Why isn’t my new Caladium plant growing new leaves?
Propagation and repotting can be quite stressful for plants so don’t expect your Caladium to all of a sudden be growing lots of new leaves straight after propagating.
If you’re trying to grow your Caladium plants when the temperatures are quite low then it’s worth using a heat mat to warm up the area and provide the ideal environment for new growth.
Why are my new Caladium plants losing colour?
If the leaves on your cutting have lost their colour then it’s probably due to a lack of sunlight. Move your new plants to a spot where they receive ample indirect sunlight. Avoid any direct sunlight as that comes with issues of its own.
That’s all there is to know about Caladium propagation. As you’ll need to do it through division, it definitely makes the process easier. With the right care and the ideal environment, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
Check out our full Caladium Care Guide that has all the information on how to continue caring for your plants after dividing them.